[JURIST] A group of 14 Asian countries in the Asia-Pacific region execute more people than the rest of the world combined, the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network [advocacy website] said Monday. The report, When Justice Fails: Thousands Executed in Asia After Unfair Trials [text, PDF], argues that these countries’ legal systems fail to meet international standards, such as torture, mandatory death sentences, presumed guilt, right to counsel and other factors that contribute to unjust trials and convictions. The report also examines case studies from individuals facing trials in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Pakistan. It states:
In compiling this report, a number of cases have been reviewed which clearly demonstrate that who will be executed and who will be spared is often determined not only by the nature of the crimes but also the defendants’ ethnic or other identity, their economic or social status, or their ability to understand and navigate through the trial process, the availability or adequacy of legal aid and defence counsel, and other factors that determine whether they are able to challenge unfairness in a criminal justice system that propels them towards death.
ADPAN’s goal is abolition of the death penalty, as it says “only abolition … can guarantee that no innocent person will be executed.” For countries that refuse to abolish it, the group advocates that they at least comply with international standards for fair trials that do not violate human rights.
Last year, Amnesty International [advocacy website] released a report saying the number of countries using the death penalty is decreasing [JURIST report]. At that time, though, Asia still had the highest number of executions, executing more people than the rest of the world combined. ADPAN has been working since 2006 to achieve abolition of the death penalty in all Asia-Pacific countries.